But then this little girl pulled on my finger
“Come down to the river with us!” the piggy squealed
I could’ve smashed her skull in like an eggshell
Snapped bones like breadsticks
But my human body was curious, and made me go with her
All the children of the town were there that day
Swimming, splashing, shrieking with laughter
They came to escape the heat and pesky parents
A naked boy ran up to me; “Have you come to play, miss?”
I almost smiled.
They were too innocent; I turned my back, leaving them to their happiness
They did not commit the crimes the town was guilty of
I could not smite these children
So I delighted myself as I tore the adults of that town to slivers
The King’s Justice.
In the kitchen my mother is standing
Broken, arms cradling the dead baby
Of her smoky childhood.
Her eyes are shattered snowglobes
At my entrance,
She wipes her bleeding cheeks and smiles
Nothing is wrong, she tells me
But I know better
I know what day it is; the anniversary
My grandma, wide-eyed, lying on the bathroom tiles
I was only seven.
I did not understand, only knew that my mother’s tears
Were the most terryifying thing I’ve ever seen.
My bedroom has memories as wallpaper
They shine brightly on the walls as I gaze around
This solid wardrobe took me to Narnia, on incredible adventures
The glow-in-the-dark stars were a secret computers system my head
And the most delicious secret; beside my bed, a secret trapdoor
Inside, a twisting slide led to a playpark where my friends and I went
Every single night while all our adults were sleeping.
All grown up now, and sleeping in the bed of my childhood
I slip my hand underneath the pillow and touch the hard spines of hidden books
I was a rebellious child.
After being tucked in I would take out my bounty, lie on my stomach and read for hours
I would tie string around my barbies and lob them out the window
Claiming that they were bungee jumping
The first time I was given a pair of scissors I hacked half my hair off
And I would sleep with all forty-six of my cuddly animals stuffed up my nighty
I suppose my biggest crime was the most expensive;
I would peel the wallpaper from the walls in great strips
To the point where my parents, with many stern words, were forced to redecorate
So now, the walls of my bedroom shine with memories
And with these old eyes I greet the wild child that I used to be.
I want to grow old with you I want to see you as an old lady, lined and made smaller by the years but With that brain of yours still so sharp and quick despite your appearance, your wit and passion unchanged by the years I want to stay with you forever I never want to leave you, I want to spend my days in your company I want to belong to you, and for you to belong to me, for the rest of our lives But more than anything, I want your days to stretch behind you And for you to look back and be able to say with confidence, “Yes, I’m happy with what I’ve done.” I want your happiness more than I want my own.
I was born and raised out in the countryside, and until my teenage years I had never even known any other kind of life. The first time I went into a city the noise and the sheer number of people overwhelmed me. I was absolutely terrified.
My childhood will be full of memories of open blue skies, of golden fields, of bare feet and climbing up trees and tall grass. Even now I’ll smell fertiliser on the fields and be able to tell you which animal it came from. I’ll always remember my childhood.
The other day one of my friends quoted a statistic to me: ‘Half of the people living in London have never seen a cow’. That shocked me to the core; it’s just so normal for me to walk out the door and see herds of cows grazing. How can 4,087,050 people in England lived their entire lives without seeing something as ordinary as a cow?
Then it struck me that there are people all over the world have grown up in cities – and that’s their life, those are their childhood memories. Some people love the bustle and busyness, the underground and skyscrapers, just as I love the countryside. For them, they would consider it weird that I’ve never been to Starbucks, never ridden in a taxi.